Tag Archives: John Paul II

he gets it, she gets it; God gets it, we get it

3 Apr

Good Friday wall 01

On Good Friday the wall behind our altar is noticeably blank. Something is missing. If one looks closely, one sees where the crucifix usually is. It is taken down to be carried in procession into church for the Veneration of the Cross during the Liturgy of Lord’s Passion.

Good Friday wall 02

Jesus knows suffering: physical suffering, emotional suffering, and spiritual suffering. He knew the pain of whips, thorns and nails. He knew the pain of betrayal and the pain of being left alone in agony. He knew the pain of feeling abandoned by God. He knows suffering.

When we go to him because we are suffering, physically, emotionally or spiritually, we know that he understands. He gets it!

Here’s how I tried to say that on Good Friday:

During the veneration of the cross our music director played a piece for the first here at St. Andrew, which was the first time ever that the piece was played and sung anywhere. The “Ave Maria – Woman of Sorrow” was written/composed by our Deacon, Timothy S. Schutte, at the death of Pope John Paul II. Good Friday is the one day of the year that the text and music is appropriate; it is meant for Good Friday. The piece joins the Annunciation and the Crucifixion, the conception of Jesus in her womb and the death of Jesus on his cross. As Mary stands at the foot of the cross in her overwhelming grief, she remembers and feels all over again her bewilderment when she was face to face with the angel Gabriel.

Ave Maria Schutte

The refrain is the words of the angel to Mary, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, and blessed are you” (in Latin). In the grief of Good Friday, Mary speaks, “My Heart pierced through, / my sorrow the sword. / His mission done, / my tears freely flow,” and then the line that connects this moment to her response to the angel, “Look what my ‘yes’ has done.” But then God speaks, “Oh fairest one, / do not despair /  your Son and Mine, Divine Heir / His love poured out, / My face you see,” and ends with a phrase echoing back to Mary her own words, “Look what your ‘yes’ has done.”

Here’s how our choir sang it on Good Friday:

In the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we pray, “Eternal Father, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

swaddled in a kaffiyeh

24 May

A local Nativity scene for the Papal Mass

artwork of Bethlehem for teh Pope's visit

BETHLEHEM – A work of art of 14 meters long by 6 meters wide. Nothing is too big or too good to welcome the Holy Father. Created ​​by a Palestinian artist, the figurative art piece, full of symbols, will be positioned as a backdrop behind the altar for the Papal Mass. A nativity scene reinterpreted with many local elements. 

The stable mentioned in the Gospel is represented by a tent, a symbol of all the many refugees from the region who, like Christ, are reduced to a miserable condition. It is also symbolic of the Incarnation of God who came “pitching his tent among us” (John 1:14). 

The shepherds are not the only figures. The three popes who visited the Holy Land, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI are there to worship the Child, followed by Doves of Peace. Pope Francis, who will preside over the Mass in front of the art work, is indirectly represented by his patron saint and namesake, Francis of Assisi, friend of the poor, but also the protector of the Holy Places. 

Two religious sisters are also shown on the right, each side of St. Francis: the Carmelite Sister Mariam of Bethlehem, and Sister Marie-Alphonsine Ghattas, founder of the Sisters of the Rosary (the first Palestinian congregation) who was born in Jerusalem but spent most of her life in Bethlehem. They are two locals of the nineteenth century beatified in recent years. 

Saint Joseph is wearing a black and white kaffiyeh, local traditional headdress that has become a Palestinian emblem. This is also used to swaddle the Child Jesus in his manger. 

In the background, the city of Bethlehem and the hills of the Judean desert. 

Rich in symbols, intended as such by the artist, a Palestinian native of Bethlehem, Robert Jakaman, who studied art in Italy. 

by Myriam Ambroselli, Latin Patriarchate Jerusalem website, posted on May 20, 2014